UST law profs come to dean’s defense
The University of Santo Tomas-Faculty of Civil Law has come to the defense of its dean, Nilo Divina, against efforts to implicate him in the fatal hazing of UST law freshman Horacio “Atio” Castillo III.
In a statement of support issued on Saturday, the faculty said Divina “acted with utmost circumspection, propriety and impartiality as dean” in the ongoing investigation into Castillo’s death.
“We know for a fact that he has not hesitated to take action against any student, including members of fraternities, for various infractions or noncompliance with academic requirements,” said the statement, which was signed by 35 professors, including seven judges and five justices.
It also attested to Divina’s “generosity and immense sacrifice to invest in student development and promote solidarity among the faculty.”
Divina, a member of Aegis Juris, faces a complaint for murder and violation of the antihazing law along with 18 other fraternity members being linked to Castillo’s death allegedly due to injuries sustained in initiation rites held on Sept. 17.
He was included among the respondents by Castillo’s parents who filed a supplemental complaint in the Department of Justice on Oct. 9. They alleged that Divina knew Castillo would undergo initiation and that he later failed to ensure that everyone involved in the fatal hazing would be accounted for.
The law dean has maintained in media statements that he had no prior knowledge of the hazing, and has filed libel suits against Lorna Kapunan, the Castillos’ lawyer, for linking him to the student’s death.
In a message to the Inquirer, Divina said the faculty’s dedication and support “serve as an additional motivation in carrying out the sweet burden of the deanship.”
Again, he maintained his innocence, saying it was the reason why he refused to take a leave of absence from the deanship despite being urged to do so by Sen. Grace Poe during the Senate hearing on the matter.
“UST is not a public institution. It is a private educational institution with its own rules, policies and norms. The deanship is a matter between me and [UST’s stakeholders],” he said. “I am serene with the knowledge that I did not transgress the law or breach any moral obligation.”
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